Healthcare IT News unveils 2014 "Best Hospital IT Department" winners
Money may talk, but when it comes to creating a great workplace, that talk is barely a whisper.
In reading the 25 profiles of this year's winners in Healthcare IT News 4th annual "Best Hospital IT Departments" program, you'll see only one reference to salary and benefits.
When it comes to creating a great hospital IT workplace, this is as close to a secret sauce as you may ever get: Employees want to be compensated fairly, but teamwork, good communication, feeling respected as a professional, and gaining a sense of accomplishment from one's work all matter more than pay and benefits.
That is not only the key takeaway from this year's "Best Hospital IT Departments"program, it's been true since the program debuted in 2011. And as in past years, the winning departments understand this better than most.
Michael Roberts, CIO at Highlands Regional Medical Center in Prestonsburg, Ky., one of this year's winners, may not have summed up exactly what it means to be a stand-out IT department, but he came close.
"I believe that communication is key," he said. "I strive to always provide as much detail as possible on the background for the projects we handle. By understanding the business needs and goals for each project, the staff understands what we are trying to accomplish and the reason behind it. This gives your job meaning and shows how it fits in the big picture."
How we chose the winners
This year's program began with nominations opening on April 23. Nominations closed on May 27, and 193 hospital IT departments were nominated. On May 29, the nominated hospitals were emailed a link to a secure online employee satisfaction survey, and instructed to distribute the link to all IT staff. To qualify to be named a best IT department, at least 50 percent of a department's staff had to complete the 79-question survey. The survey closed on July 15, and of the 193 nominated hospitals, 85 qualified to be named a best hospital IT department.
In all, 5,506 hospital IT employees completed the "Best Hospital IT Department" survey. Of the 85 finalists, 12 qualified for the "Super" category (200+ IT employees); 15 for the large category (76 to 199 employees); 24 for the "Medium" category (26-75 employees); and 34 for the "Small" category (25 or fewer employees).
As in past years, to interpret some of the results, Critical Insights, a market research company based in Portland, Maine, used an index where a score of 100 is considered "average." Here's how the 4,611 IT employees from the 85 department finalists who took the 2014 survey ranked the importance of the seven workplace satisfaction categories addressed in the study:
* Satisfaction with your job and elements of your day-to-day work (115)
* Satisfaction with immediate work unit, team, or IT department group ((104)
* Satisfaction with your workplace culture (104)
* Satisfaction with senior management and leadership (99)
* Satisfaction with training, professional development, and advancement (98)
* Satisfaction with compensation, benefits, and employee recognition (91)
* Satisfaction with your direct supervisor, manager or group head – the person you report to directly (89)
The better an IT department scored in the categories most important to employees, the higher its final ranking.
Making a Difference
When Healthcare IT News launched the "Best Hospital IT Departments" program four years ago, the goal was to uncover those characteristics that drive workplace satisfaction in hospital IT workplaces, spotlight top performers, and establish best practices that all hospital IT departments, if they wish, can embrace.
And these days, with so much work on everybody's plate, it's worth noting these best practices, as well as the attitudes that characterize the top departments.
"You absolutely have to keep a balance, it's very important," said Rebecca Webber, CIO and senior vice president of technology at Meridian Health System, in Neptune, N.J., this year's top Super hospital. "We try to become a 'work family' and have fun together. Everyone cares about one another, and I think it makes a big difference."
Click here to read about all the winning hospitals.